Thieves steal smartphones then act as good Samaritans to gain access to accounts

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The scam is simple and preys on trust and a need to recover important property.

Beware of thieves on your next night out on the town. While we’ve only heard this report coming out of Denver, Colorado, it’s possible it could spread. Thieves are stealing unsuspecting bar goers smartphones in hopes of gaining access to financial data. The Denver Post reports there have been 37 cases of scammers posing as bar owners to gain access to locked smartphones. This is the first we’ve heard of this scam, but again, if it’s happening in Denver, chances are it’s happening elsewhere.

The scam is simple and preys on trust and a need to recover important property. First, the thieves target a bar patron and figure out the best way to steal their smartphone. Being that most people in a bar are distracted, that’s most-likely the easy part. Once they have the phone they simply wait for the owner to call the phone in hopes a good Samaritan discovered it. Once the owner calls the phone, the thieves answer and pose as the bar owner.

At this point, the crooks ask the phone owner for the passcode or pin to the phone to verify they are who they say they are. Once they have access to the phone, they change passwords and attempt to access financial apps hoping to get money. It would seem a simple scam to avoid but often times users are just desperate and not thinking clearly.

If you lose your phone, you should never give someone the passcode or pin to access it. If you own an iPhone you should have Apple’s Find My iPhone feature activated. If on Android, you should use Google’s Find My Device feature. Both of these features will allow you to locate your device via GPS if your phone is turned on and potentially recover it. You should take caution if you think your phone is in the hands of a thief. It’s probably a good idea to call the police for your own safety.

What do you think of this story? Have you encountered this scam? Let us know in the comments below, or on Google+, Twitter, or Facebook.

  Source: Denver Post
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